You longtime Trekland readers know that every year about this time, I take a pause on Jan. 20 and make sure to remember my original Star Trek fave, DeForest Kelley, on his birthday.
Happy 102nd, De!
I always root for the underdog, and De’s been my hero ever since I took up the mission to claim a share of the limelight for he and McCoy. You know — the share that used to always be lost in the glare of the main spotlight focused on Kirk and Spock.
The first couple decades of fandom, De never got his due in fan love — or merch! Even when De was “above the line” in credits and pay, and it was McCoy who regularly brought space studs Kirk and Spock “down to earth” — (and, likely, a parallel metaphor for their actors as well). Thankfully, I run into McCoy fans all the time now.
Even so, it took Leonard‘s passing to lead me to new reflections on how Spock’s character just made McCoy all the better.
Don’t misunderstand, I did and do love that original cast! But it was De I always felt was the one I’d most like to have that proverbial “dinner with.”
But Trekland didn’t launch until a decade after De’s passing in 1999, so I spent the early years here sharing pics from his other roles — mostly as a black-hat bad guy in Westerns — to help spread his amazing saga amongst our newcomers.
But now this year is perfect for another insight that seems to have been lost to our last generation of Trekfolks: De and Carolyn Kelley were animal lovers!
You can see De here in 1969 on the sofa with Cheers, he and Carolyn’s house dog of the late ’60s and ’70s. You would have found Myrtle the Turtle out in their Sherman Oaks yard for years, as well.
We sadly never got Betty White into Star Trek, but I mention her here thanks to timing: the beloved actress’ passing Dec. 31 just shy of her 100th birthday. The planned celebration for Jan. 17 evolved, inspired by her lifelong passion for animal rights and adoption to spark the groundswell #BettyWhiteChallenge to her fans: donate in her name to one’s local animal adoption and rescue agency.
Now, just by chance, I caught a #BWC tweet from De’s descendant Starfleet doctor, Wilson “@wcruz73” Cruz, realized De’s own birthday was just three days later — and had a brainstorm:
Why not make a double-whammy memorial gift and honor both — by recalling De and Carolyn’s own “favorite passion,” the North Shore Animal League.
Just make your #BettyWhiteChallenge donation to the memorial fund created in De and Carolyn Kelley’s name— the same fund created as the family’s preferred expression for memorial gifts when De passed in 1999. (You can see De with more critters at thatat site, too!)
I mean, sure — support your own choice of local animal group, of course.
But if you’re not already attached to an agency, why not honor Star Trek’s founding doctor and the great and much-missed De Kelley in his birthday week, as well?